Briefing to Israeli Delegation

Last month I was invited to attend a meeting in New York to brief staff members of Israel’s Knesset who were accompanied by members of the Israeli media. The session was part of a multi-day visit to educate Israeli opinion and decision makers about the American Jewish community. I spoke to them in Hebrew in …

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That Ad Campaign to Bring Jacob Home

December 10, 2011   In the Torah reading of a few weeks ago Rebekah told her son Jacob to flee and run away because she is worried that Esau will kill him. She tells him, “Go to my brother in Haran where you will stay a few days.”  Jacob stays considerably more than a few …

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What Makes the Land Holy?

November 19, 2011   The story of the first family of the Jewish people continues with today’s Torah reading. Abraham’s wife, Sarah, who has accompanied him throughout his journeys, who has been a helpmate to him, and who has been by his side throughout all that has transpired since their departure from their homeland in …

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Advising Presidential Campaigns

I received an invitation to attend an off-the-record meeting at the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee with members of the Obama campaign staff. Those in attendance included a handful of representatives of Jewish organizations, as well as Peace Now and J Street.   The off-the-record meeting was opened by Ira Forman, who is directing …

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Update from Israel

In recent days we have met with Dore Gold, Israel’s former ambassador to the United Nations, as well as Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon. Both expressed concern that the window to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is closing.   We also enjoyed an evening at the exquisite and fascinating newly renovated Israel Museum with …

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Response to NY Times Editorial

October 27, 2011   Mr. Arthur O. Sulzberger, Jr. Publisher The New York Times 620 Eight Avenue New York, NY 10018   Dear Mr. Sulzberger,   I am writing to let you know how appalled I was by the insensitivity of The New York Times editorial following the release of Gilad Shalit (October 18, 2011). …

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Release of Gilad Shalit

 October 22, 2011   Governors and Presidents have the power to grant clemency, to give pardons and to commute prison sentences. Traditionally mercy is shown for any of a number of reasons.  It could be that new evidence has come to light revealing that the imprisoned is not guilty, or perhaps there is a genuine …

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Israel: A Non-Political Sermon

Kol Nidre 2011 October 7, 2011   There is a robust discussion taking place in a number of public forums these days about whether or not rabbis should speak about political issues on the pulpit, especially during the High Holidays.  Personally, I believe it is a prerogative of a rabbi to be a good citizen …

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An Eternal Bond

September 17, 2011   “When you enter the land that the Lord your God is giving you as a heritage, and you possess it and settle in it….” These are the opening words of this morning’s Torah portion.   If I were to just say that sentence without identifying where it came from, it would …

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Shlach Lecha

June 18, 2011   A leader from each tribe goes up to the land of Israel to scout it out in this week’s Torah portion. They come back and scare their fellow Israelites by telling them that the land is one which eats or devours its inhabitants and is populated by giants.  Never mind that …

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